The end of anusaya

- "Bhikkhus, as to the source through which perceptions and notions tinged by mental proliferation beset a man: if nothing is found there to delight in, welcome and hold to, this is the end of the underlying tendency to lust, of the underlying tendency to aversion, of the underlying tendency to views, of the underlying tendency to doubt, of the underlying tendency to conceit, of the underlying tendency to desire for being, of the underlying tendency to ignorance; this is the end of resorting to
rods and weapons, of quarrels, brawls, disputes, recrimination, malice, and false speech; here these evil unwholesome states cease without remainder." (MN18, Bodhi).

I also feel this is true for suffering. If one still welcomes happiness, no trouble, comfort, no pain, or if one delights in this, my experience is, there is no end of unwholesome states. It is like the Dhamma never works.

I feel this is a real struggle. Who wants to be sick, have pain, decay, meet all kind of discomfort and unpleasant feelings etc. But that is also part of life. But that same longing keeps one in a state of trouble, a state of expectation, hope and fear what will happen, a state of like and dislike , a state of agitation, anxious.

I know, Buddha does not promise the end of pain, trouble, unpleasant feeling, sickness, decay but still it is not easy to practise in a way without the expactation of the ending of that actual suffering.

But i can see the above texts is true. If one delights in the freedom of suffering, freedom of painful feeling, in the absence of discomfort and trouble, welcomes it, holds it, nothing seems to fundamentally change because the mentallity does not really change. There does not come an end to like and dislike. No end to anusaya. No end to agitation and anxiousness.

Ajahn Buddhadasa teachings
Benefits of the New Life

Nivarana (hindrances)
Are not as powerful as the full-blown kilesas. We could say they are half kilesa. Little pesting annoyances in the mind, which are constantly bothering us. Not all the time, but most of the time. Nivarana don’t depend on an external object; they arise from within, from anusaya. They are present in our mind all the time. They don’t depend on external causes, they are within, internal.

If any of the five nivaranas show up, sati-sampajañña sweeps them out of mind as with a broom

Kilesas (or instincts)
Much stronger, much hotter, than nivarana, when they arise are much more painful. Kilesa have external objects - contact/attachment. Many, many kinds of kilesas summarized in 3 groups: lust or greed - wanting/craving; hate, anger - pushing things away, trying to get rid of things; confusion, spinning around, indecision about things.

Kilesa come around fairly often but they are not as common as the nivarana. But they are much stronger, much hotter, and when they arise are much more painful.

Through repeated indulgence of kilesas, the underlying tendencies (anusayas) toward and familarity with kilesas accumulate. Once these anusayas build up pressure, they flow out as the asavas.

If one is free of the kilesa that can be called a new life. The cool peacefulness of mind that arises because the kilesas and nivaranas are gone is nibbana

Anusaya (Tendencies)
Whenever a kilesa occurs it leaves a little deposit. These deposits are the anusaya, leaving a tendency in the mind towards that kilesa, a familarity with that kilesa, and those deposits build up in the mind. The anusaya pile up and the more there are, the easier it is for nivarana and kilesa to happen.

With sati-sampajañña the anusayas aren’t activated or added to, and the asavas (effluents, outflows) don’t leak out. If the anusayas, the underlying tendencies of mind, are absent, so are the asavas.

Which means outflows. Like a jar of water with a hole in it. The more water, the more pressure that will force the water out at a higher speed, with more strength. So, the kilesa are filling up the jar with water. The jar that is filled with water is the anusaya. The water that is shooting out is the asava.

We practice the Dhamma in order to limit, to control, to overcome these four categories. When they can be controlled or overcome this is called a new life.


Thanks you @dhammarak. Some things are new for me, such as the less powerful quality of nivarana compared to kilesa. Pushing things away i find a nice description of hate, irritation, dislike towards certain experiences.

Regarding above statement, does this mean that when for example, dislike is activated (dosa anusaya) this always means that there is a lack of sati-sampajanna?

My own impression is that the activation of these anusaya cannot really be controlled.

This is correct when describing the path practice, and a necessary understanding for progress.

“‘This body comes into being through craving. And yet it is by relying on craving that craving is to be abandoned.’ Thus was it said. And in reference to what was it said? There is the case, sister, where a monk hears, ‘The monk named such-and-such, they say, through the ending of the fermentations, has entered & remains in the fermentation-free awareness-release & discernment-release, having known & realized them for himself in the here & now.’ The thought occurs to him, ‘I hope that I, too, will — through the ending of the fermentations — enter & remain in the fermentation-free awareness-release & discernment-release, having known & realized them for myself in the here & now.’ Then he eventually abandons craving, having relied on craving. ‘This body comes into being through craving. And yet it is by relying on craving that craving is to be abandoned.’ Thus was it said. And in reference to this was it said.”

—Anguttara Nikaya 4.159

The difference being this ambition is a craving “not of the flesh,” a requirement of the second foundation of mindfulness, and can be classed as painful.

Yes, this is how I understand. Ajahn Buddhadasa mentions that for the majority sati is far too slow. Sati has to be like a light speed.

Hi Paul , For me, the Dhamma is a means for honouring goodness.

I see the end of kilesa’s, of hindrances, of anusaya, of asava as becoming a noble person which is a vessel for goodness. For me an ariya and Buddha is such a person. A Buddha is a perfect empty vessel.

It is not that he is the owner of goodness but he is so open, so empty of self, and empty of self views and longings, that he is the perfect empty vessel for goodness.

Maybe some believe detachment is like possessing wisdom, being the possessor of love and compassion and wisdom. I do not believe this. Detachment, Nibbana, is not a kind of possession. It is exactly the opposite. It is the complete emptiness of possession, also of love, wisdom and compassion.

I do not think there can be progress when ego centric desires does not weaken and there are still (maybe strong) desires to feel no pain, no lllnesses, no decay, no problems, only comfort, nice feelings, nice mental states etc.

I see for myself these desires are not helpful at all, especially because this suffering in this life cannot be avoided.

Hoping to realise enlightment is, for me, for goodness sake.

I am not driven by a wish to extinguish for ever. For me this feels like an egocentric longing related to the desire never ever feel, experience, sense something anymore. If i have this longing, for me, it feels like despair, darkness, a vibhava tanha.

Thanks. I must take some time to reflect on this.

Hi @dhammarak , is this not the same as suppressing the defilements?

I rememer texts in which sati is compared to a gate-keeper but i do not think sati decides which guest arrive at the gate? What exactly is sampajanna?

More teachings of Ajahn Buddhadasa:
The point, place, or moment that is most important for using mindfulness to block dependent co-arising is the moment of sense contact. Mindfulness is required at each moment of contact. However we usually lack such quick and consistent mindfulness. If we have not trained midfulness, we will lack it when and where it is needed the most, that is, to regulate contact. Without foolish contact there will not be foolish vedana, foolish craving, and the rest of foolishness that ends up in dukkha.

The word mindfulness implies speed - fast as lightining bolt or laser beam. The quickness and immediacy of mindfulness is needed to be immediately present at the arising of contact. Then mindfulness is able to deliver wisdom to the point of contact, at the moment of contact, so that contact is governed by correct understanding and not ignorance. A crucial problem regarding mindfulness is that usually it is not fast enough to be fully present at the moment of contact. Once there is quick enough mindfulness and it brings wisdom, the wisdom specific to the needs of the situation is called sampajañña -clear knowing.

Please give adequate attention to this central human problem: in our world we lack the necessary mindfulness and wisdom to control sense contact.

To make this important point completely clear, we must say that when we can control sense contact, we can control the world. We can have power over the entire world just by controlling contact through the power of wisdom, calm mental focus, and the specially applied wisdom of sampajañña. This may sound strange but it is most assuredly true: if we can control sense contact we can control the world.

Thus it is necessary to be correct understanding, whether we call it wisdom (pañña), true knowing (vijja), insight knowledge (ñana), clear seeing (vipassana), or whatever else. And from where does this intuitive wisdom come? Developed mindfulness which naturally matures into correct understanding. Mindfulness with breathing also brings about sampajañña, or the specific application of wisdom to a particular situation or event, and samadhi, mind that is firm, clearly focused, stable, calm, clear and active.

With a sufficient developed practice these four essential dhammas - mindfulness, wisdom, clear comprehension and well-focused stability - will be ready to do their work at the moment of contact.

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